Dakar set for final-stage showdown
|By Pablo Elizalde||Friday, January 15th 2010, 15:42 GMT|
The 2010 Dakar rally is set for a final-stage showdown for victory after Nasser Al-Attiyah reduced the gap to overall leader Carlos Sainz on the penultimate special of the event.
Although Sainz had marginally increased the gap to his Volkswagen team-mate on Thursday, the Qatari gained two and a half minutes on the Spaniard on today's stage, which was won by X-Raid's Stephane Peterhansel.
Nine-time Dakar winner Peterhansel scored his fourth victory of 2010, extending his record of stage victories to 55 as he looks set to finish this year's event in fourth place.
The Frenchman beat Al-Attiyah by one minute and 21 seconds, with Sainz 3m53s behind the stage winner and BMW's Guerlain Chicherit, fourth today.
The former world rally champion will go into the final special on Saturday with a lead of just two minutes and 48 seconds.
The 14th and final special will cover 206 timed kilometres from San Rafael to Argentina's capital Buenos Aires.
American Mark Miller finished in fifth position today to all but secure third position on the podium. The Volkswagen driver is over 31 minutes behind Sainz but nearly two hours ahead of Peterhansel.
Last year's winner Giniel de Villiers completed today's 368-km special from San Rafael to Santa Rosa in sixth.
Stage 13: Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Stephane Peterhansel BMW 2h58m25s 2. Nasser Al-Attiyah VW + 1m21s 3. Guerlain Chicherit BMW + 3m45s 4. Carlos Sainz VW + 3m53s 5. Mark Miller VW + 7m29s 6. Giniel de Villiers VW + 8m13s 7. Orlando Terranova Mitsubishi + 11m16s 8. Robby Gordon Hummer + 12m21s 9. Robert Baldwin Hummer + 13m37s 10. Carlos Sousa Mitsubishi + 17m00s Overall: Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Carlos Sainz VW 45h49m42s 2. Nasser Al-Attiyah VW + 2m48s 3. Mark Miller VW + 31m48s 4. Stephane Peterhansel BMW + 2h16m49s 5. Guerlain Chicherit BMW + 4h02m42s 6. Carlos Sousa Mitsubishi + 4h26m32s 7. Giniel de Villiers VW + 5h09m14s 8. Robby Gordon Hummer + 6h01m02s 9. Orlando Terranova Mitsubishi + 6h02m55s 10. Guilherme Spinelli Mitsubishi + 6h09m09s